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Balancing Yes and No

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I read a lot of blogs that seem to have all the answers.

This is not one of those blogs.

Maybe if it were, I’d have a wider audience.  I’d have hundreds of followers and scores of “Likes” on Facebook.

But me?  I’ve just got a whole lot of questions.

My latest question is about committing to things.  When should I?  When shouldn’t I?  When do I say yes and when do I say no?

Maybe you’ve heard of the movie Yes Man.  It’s an older flick, but I saw it just a few months ago.  In it, Jim Carrey plays a guy who never has any adventure and always says no to anything new.  As a result, his girlfriend dumps him, his friends become exasperated with him, and he leads a terribly boring life.  He goes to this seminar about saying yes to absolutely everything.  Everything.  And it’s pretty wacky, but it ends up changing his life for the better.  He has fun.  He tries new things.  He goes on adventures.  And eventually he learns that saying yes to everything isn’t the answer either, but he realizes that while saying no is sometimes necessary, saying yes can be great.

I wish I could get that lesson figured out in a sweet little two-hour movie, replete with fun music, lovely scenery, and a Vespa.

It seems a little harder for me.

How often should I say yes?  How much time to I take away from my primary responsibilities — work and home — in order to do something else?  How much should I invest into broken systems I don’t believe in (there are two major ones with which I’m currently affiliated) in order to improve them?  How do I know when something will be a fun, new experience, and when it will be a time-eater that takes way too much preparation and planning to make it worth it?

I know it’s not all about me.  I want to have an impact on my community… but not at the expense of my mental and emotional health.

So, what’s the answer?  I sure don’t know yet.

If you find one of those have-all-the-answers bloggers, send them here.  Maybe they can hand me an easy solution, tied up in a bow.

 

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About Karen Koch

I like the old-fashioned lifestyle. All this new-fangled stuff baffles me sometimes. I cherish living out in the country, raising chickens and rabbits, planting fruit trees, and enjoying a slow life filled with beautiful words and ideas. I don't always achieve a slow life. I teach middle school English and manage a little burgeoning farm with my husband, and somewhere in the midst of that, I try to find time for writing, running, knitting, reading, and playing the ukulele. And sometimes, I actually succeed.

5 responses »

  1. I have a hard time saying no (ESPECIALLY in the church arena) but then I find that I don’t provide the quality work that I should. It would be better to do the things I know I love, and just say no to the things I think I SHOULD do. And then of course there’s the whole Moses thing & maybe God is calling me even though I don’t think it’s a great fit. Sigh.

    Reply
  2. I consider you very balanced and have always admired how you eschew (is that the right word?) the unimportant/excessive/unnecessary for what is of more value. I’ve even had thoughts like WWKD?
    On the other hand, sometimes you don’t recognize how good you are and can use some encouragement to branch out and take risks.

    Reply
    • Well, thank you. It was actually your last request and my refusal that got me to thinking about it more. I just often feel like I have a hard enough time balancing life as it is; taking on something new when I can’t even keep my bathroom clean seems like folly. But when is it good to do the new thing regardless of the state of the bathroom? That is the question.

      Reply
  3. I find that your blog is one of those things that I often neglect and should not. You have a way of touching the very things I struggle with, and this is one of them. My tendency has always been to want to get involved in everything, but not be willing to put forth the effort to carry it to its completion. The result=many projects begun, few finished. I’m working on getting that straightened out by defining what those projects are, and deciding which ones I will kill by benign neglect and which will get my full effort. Life is a constant string of choices, few of which are easy.

    Reply

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